Last week, after The Post exposed the Long Island Rail Road’s overtime scandal, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Pat Foye announced a crackdown: The LIRR and the MTA’s other agencies must investigate whether a track worker really worked 16 hours a day for an entire year straight, for example.
A crackdown is laudable, but it’s not enough: The bigger problem is the union contracts that workers expertly exploit.
The LIRR racked up $225 million in OT last year, according to the Empire Center — consuming nearly a third of the $740 million in fares Long Island commuters pay. Put another way, without this burden, the average commuter riding from Huntington to Penn Station every day could pay $253, not $363.
Insane overtime rules are effectively taking a restaurant meal each month away from harried — and lower-paid — private-sector workers. Fraud needs policing and punishment, but the rules encourage fraud.
What are the rules that drive up overtime? To start, LIRR managers are hamstrung by nearly a dozen separate union contracts, the longest of which is 128 pages.
Let’s look at the rulebook for “maintenance of way” workers, including track workers.
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